The Absolute Best Ways To Keep Mint Fresh

Keeping fresh herbs and spices on hand allows home cooks to season and flavor their kitchen creations at any time, from hot and cold main dishes to desserts and even drinks. For those who love to incorporate mint into things like tea, pasta sauces, or frozen refreshments, keeping fresh mint in the kitchen is a must. But depending on how and when you plan to use your mint leaves, there may be a best method for storing a fresh bunch.

Mint grows incredibly fast and spreads just as quickly, according to The Kitchn. That's why those who have a place in their home or outside with full to partial sun can place a pot of mint there and simply keep it growing year-round. But if you don't want to keep up with a living plant, there are still plenty of ways to store a bunch of mint to keep it fresh for days, weeks, or months.

Stash the stems in the fridge

One common method of keeping herbs fresh is to store them in a vase or cup of water like you would flowers (per Street Smart Kitchen). This method is best for people who use mint regularly and plan to use a bunch of stems soon. According to MasterClass, mint can keep fresh in the fridge for up to three weeks so long as you are diligent in caring for it.

To successfully store mint in the fridge, trim the stems and place them in a glass of fresh water inside the fridge. Make sure you don't overfill the vessel and have just enough water to cover the bare part of the stems without submerging low leaves. To protect the leaves from getting too cold, you can place a loose bag over the top of the mint leaves. Remember to change the water every few days in order to keep the leaves good for the longest period of time.

Freeze the leaves in one of two ways

As EatingWell explains, there are two ways you can freeze mint leaves to make the most of them over long periods of time. Depending on how you plan to use your mint, you can either store them frozen in ice cubes or as whole, individual leaves. Storing mint leaves in ice is great for adding mint to things like drinks or cooking it in dishes. But if you want to avoid the added water to your recipe, you can simply freeze the leaves individually. Either way, the frozen leaves should be fresh for up to six months.

To store mint in ice, remove the stems and place the leaves — whole or chopped — in an ice tray and fill with water. To freeze mint leaves whole, remove the stems and spread the leaves out on a baking sheet. Place the tray in the freezer until all of the leaves are frozen, then add them to a resealable container to keep fresh for months at a time.

Dry the leaves for long-term storage

If you want to protect fresh mint for even longer periods of time, you might need to dry the leaves. While dried herbs tend to have a milder flavor than fresh, mint does dry well and can still be used for many recipes, per The Spruce Eats. Fortunately, you don't have to have a dehydrator to do this at home either. MasterClass recommends two different methods depending on your space and how much time you want to dedicate to drying the mint.

Like drying most foods or herbs, you can utilize your oven by setting it to a low temperature and allowing the fresh mint leaves to slowly dry for several hours. Alternatively, you can hang the mint upside down in paper bags to protect the leaves so they can naturally dry with time. Think of this option like drying or preserving flowers. Once dried, the leaves should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool place.